ABA English is an online language academy that specializes in teaching English through a unique method they’ve developed for the digital space. By combining new technologies with decades of experience in traditional learning methods, they’ve created a highly effective, award-winning language learning program. Today millions of people from over 170 countries around the world are learning English online with ABA, both on their web Campus and via their mobile app available on iOS and Android.

Gino Micacchi is the Chief Operating Officer at ABA, where he has pioneered a unique and strategic role in overseeing both their product vision and technological development. Since 2017, he has led the company’s transition to become mobile-first and foster a data-driven and customer-centric culture of experimentation and learning. Amplitude has been an instrumental part of the company’s evolution over the last several years, in large part by empowering teams to quickly perform their own data analysis.

Making data accessible across ABA

“Marketing is always digging into Amplitude to try to understand and identify interesting segments, and most of the times they use that logic in lookalike campaigns through Facebook, for example, which is why Amplitude’s Engage feature could really help them go further.”
Marc Vicente, CEO

Before implementing Amplitude, every single data request went through ABA’s Insights Team. This left many decisions to be made based on static analysis, intuition and gut feeling. Today, 71% of employees use Amplitude to run their own analyses on customer data.

“Now most teams in the organization can perform their own data analysis in a matter of minutes, rather than days. And they can trust the accuracy of the data,” Gino said.
This has allowed the Insights Team to shift its focus to more complex and impactful projects, in addition to training their teams and continuing to build their data culture.

Delivering value with an OKR-driven product roadmap

“The product squads are continuously running A/B test or releasing new changes to the product, and they literally use Amplitude on a daily basis to measure the impact of whatever they do on the product metrics, and eventually on the business metrics.”
Gino Micacchi, COO

ABA operates on a subscription revenue model, offering one-month, six-month and one-year subscriptions. They understand that having a great product is essential if they want users to continually renew their subscriptions. With this in mind, they’ve focused their product strategy on increasing customer lifetime value by offering a variety of learning engagements (videos, exercises, certifications) to help maintain recurring revenue. Instead of following a feature release schedule, ABA drives its product roadmap with specific objectives and key results (OKRs) that each tie directly back to their product strategy of increasing customer lifetime value.

For instance, one of their objectives was to grow subscribers by focusing on the users’ first week experience. As key results they used 7-day retention and 7-day conversion to a premium subscription. Their teams then had the autonomy to identify opportunities and actions that would impact these results. Working with these types of OKRs helps align their teams around specific value metrics and keeps them focused on measurable results.

Using behavioral cohorts and funnel analysis to improve their onboarding flow and increase subscriptions on mobile by 4.5X

The company has been focused on optimizing their onboarding flow because they know that keeping their users engaged from the very beginning is essential to getting them to complete a course. Initially, they had a short and efficient onboarding focused entirely on streamlining users to subscribe.

Using behavioral cohorts in Amplitude in conjunction with qualitative data from Customer Support and User Research, the Product team noticed that even though users were completing the onboarding process and technically subscribing, there was a high churn rate after initiating their first course. Through a series of tests and analysis using Amplitude’s cohorts and funnels, they realized that many users were choosing the wrong course level in the onboarding process. They found that selecting the wrong course level ultimately led them to abandon the course before completing the first study unit.

With this knowledge, the team shifted their objective for the onboarding process towards the new goal of getting users to complete their first course. They launched a new iteration of the onboarding flow that included a Level Test to help new users to better determine the right course level from the start.

ABA English onbaording flow

The new flow had much better results in terms of final activation rate (% of users that complete their first study unit), despite having made the onboarding process longer.

Change in Unit 1 completion rate

They ran tests on many iterations of the onboarding over several months using the A/B testing features in Amplitude’s funnel analysis. Ultimately, the optimized onboarding flow increased their activation rate by 2x and their subscriptions on mobile by 4.5x. This contributed to growing their mobile revenue from 20% to 80% of the company’s overall revenue.

Driving engagement with their existing user base

In addition to continually improving their user experience in areas that will help drive conversion, ABA is also testing new content types to help keep their existing users engaged. “What’s most important to us is to bring value to our students so they want to keep coming back,” Gino said. They can easily analyze the impact of different content types in Amplitude’s Segmentation and Funnel charts.

Early results show that their new content strategy has helped them re-engage about 10% of their premium dormant users. ABA will be using Amplitude’s Lifecycle to continue to track how this strategy works over time and how it impacts long term engagement and retention.

“Amplitude has become part of our company DNA and is an integral part of our day-to-day work,” says Gino. “It has helped us shape our culture around data, especially with features like Team Spaces that have given our teams a place for data-related conversations.”